The narrator clearly criticizes the characters for their uncaring, flippant attitude towards the looming war. The first time he mentions the war he says, “and about the war that was ensuing… people were going not so much to a war as to a fashionable tour” (263). However, he later dismisses the war, and the characters going to it, as easily as the characters do. The narrator mocks the characters’ vanity since they only care about what is happening in their own lives and not in the greater world. So, why does he do the exact same thing?
The narrator could be bringing both himself and the reader down to the level of the characters. We, like the main characters, don’t care about what is happening in the war. We care about what is happening with the characters and their unimportant lives. The readers are more interested in the day-to-day lives of others, rather than a war with important consequences.
The narrator could also just be criticizing the characters further. Since the characters did not go “farther with the [soldiers] than to the city gate” (293), neither will we. The characters are so wrapped up in themselves that they completely forget the combatants after they have left (except Amelia). The narrator, as the “Manager of the Performers,” has to stay with them in Vanity Fair, instead of pursuing worthier subjects.
Source: Thackeray, W.M. Vanity Fair. 1st. New York: WW Norton& CO., 1994. 1-689. Print.